Tom Early on Writing, Characters and his novel The Doorway God (Seasons Rising #2) (author interview)

Standard

The Doorway God (Seasons Rising #2) by Tom Early
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Art by Sadie Thompson;
Cover Design by Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at Harmony Ink Press

Amazon | Google Play | Kobo

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Tom Early here today in our author’s hot seat answering questions. Welcome, Tom.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Tom Early, author of The Doorway God

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

That depends very much on the character. Fay has a lot of me inside him, which is the result of writing in the first person, living through a similar period of my life at the time, and learning a bit of the rules of writing as I went. Other characters like Sam or Tyler are based mostly off people I know, or amalgamations of traits from people I know very well. But everyone has at least a bit of me inside them, I think.

  • Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Not in the least, unless you have a life free of mistakes and such a high opinion of yourself as to think you’re infallible. Fay has a lot of my life experiences in him, in some way or another. A lot of those are mistakes or otherwise embarrassing moments. That does not a Gary Stue make – it just makes him real enough to be relatable.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Fantasy is an interesting beast in that regard. I love it because I get to build up a whole lot of worlds and cultures and rules from nothing, but then I need to make sure that it’s internally consistent at all times, and that everything that isn’t fantasy is still believable and follows internal logic. The more you want people to believe in magic, the more the material has to follow the strict rules of physics, and the magic has to follow the rules you’ve clearly set out for it. I end up researching a lot of what I’ve already set down, ironically enough. That, and some basics of hospital and university procedure for certain scenes.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Very definitely. I’ve always had a soft spot for fantasy, and that’s never gone away. Nobody who knows me is surprised that that’s the genre I write.

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

I haven’t had that happen quite because of hurting, but I have had to put aside ‘in progress’ stories before because I felt I wasn’t quite up to the task at the time. Sometimes because I felt I didn’t have the talent or experience, and other times because the subject matter was something I had to steel myself for, and didn’t feel emotionally up for it at the time.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I love realism, but I’m also a terrible sap. Give me HEA every time, just with acknowledgment that there are always bumps in the road to be dealt with – they just don’t have to be dramatic and spell out an end.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I think it’s a very good thing, because it’s affordable and accessible to a lot of people. I don’t think it’s going anywhere, and I’m glad for the chance to see it develop in my own time. I don’t think it spells the end of print books, but there are always growing pains.

  • How do you choose your covers?

When I was young and foolish, I signed a blood pact with a demon. They told me the terms and conditions of the pact, and from there I was directed to an individual known as Sadie, who was then put in charge of my covers from that point onwards. I regret nothing – their art is truly spectacular and suited perfectly to my books. (Check my books for contact information – Sadie’s art isn’t something to be missed)

  • What’s next for you as an author?

Functioning as a human being while finding time to write, I imagine. Beyond that, I’m not sure – I just know that I’m not done writing with the conclusion of Seasons Rising as a series. I hope to stay working with Harmony Ink Press for a long time yet!

  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I’m fascinated by people who are nothing like me, especially if I can figure out the core of their personalities. That’s also mostly impossible, but I do my best anyway. Anyone who has the confidence to tackle the world head on and can talk with total strangers without feeling like an alien is someone I would like to get to know better. 

  • Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

I once wrote an entire complex of assassins and a city plagued by a name no one could remember how to speak aloud while more than a little drunk. I reread it the next morning and took some choice bits to squirrel away for later, and then deleted the other 70% or so. As it turns out, drunk me likes very much to run with the coolest idea he can think of in the moment… which often happens to be something someone else has written.

  • If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

I do very well in places where I am completely comfortable and not lacking in outside stimulus. Coffee shops tend to work very well for this, especially if I can snag a comfy chair. Give me background people chatter, a sugary caffeinated drink the size of my head, and decent wifi, and I will be more than happy to sit and write away the day for hours.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because writing makes me happy, and because I believe that stories help make the world a happier, more understanding place. There’s a lot going on today that I can’t do a damn thing about. This is something I can do to make a difference in my own way. If I can take care of myself and maybe help others a bit too with my writing, I’m going to do it.

Blurb

The Seasons are coming to Janus University, and Fay’s and Sam’s lives will never be the same.

Through last year’s deadly Trials, Fay and Sam gained admittance to the magical university, and the coming of autumn signals the start of the school year. But both of them have goals beyond their studies. For Fay, it’s finding a way to contain the ancient and evil spirit of Winter, which has no regard for human life. Fay has vowed to never let Winter kill again—but working with the school’s headmaster, Didas, is a risk. Didas cannot see past the potential power he can draw from Fay, and since Fay’s boyfriend and familiar, Tyler, is away at Tufts University, Fay might have to face his possession—and his dreams of four mysterious figures—on his own terms.

While trying to help Fay, Sam seeks information about her mother’s past in the magical world of Gaia, but will she like what she uncovers? To survive, Fay and Sam must make alliances, but it’s harder than ever to tell friend from enemy.

About the Author

Tom Early is currently a student at Tufts University who probably spends more time than is wise reading and writing instead of studying. More often than not, he can be found wrapped in a blanket on the couch forgetting most of the things he was supposed to do that day. 

When not writing, Tom can be found either reading, gaming, drawing, scratching his dog, or bothering his friends. He also frequently forgets that it’s healthy to get more than six hours of sleep a night, and firmly believes that treating coffee as the most important food group makes up for this. If you show him a picture of your dog, he will probably make embarrassingly happy noises and then brag about his own dog. He’s always happy to talk about any of his previous or current writing projects, because people asking him about them reminds him that he should really be writing right now. 

Annabelle Jay on Writing, YA Fiction, and her latest release ‘Caden’s Comet’, Book Four in The Sun Dragon Series (Harmony Ink Press guest post)

Standard

Caden’s Comet (The Sun Dragon #4) by Annabelle Jay
Harmony Ink Press
Cover artist Stef Masciandaro

Available at Harmony Ink Press

Amazon

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have author Annabelle Jay here today talking about writing, YA fiction and her latest in the Sun Dragon series, Caden’s Comet. Welcome, Annabelle!

🐉

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview

with Annabelle Jay

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I always find this to be a really interesting question, though I’m not very good at answering it. The truth is, I often don’t know how much of myself goes into every character—I think that in some ways my characters all share something with me, and yet at the same time, they’re all very much their own people. Either way, I don’t do it intentionally. Using Caden’s Comet: Book Four in The Sun Dragon Series as an example, I’ve never thought of the main character, Grian, as similar to myself, but when I think about it, I used to have a very defined view of what “true love” meant—that it had to be like the movies—and Grian has to grapple with a prophesy for his own true love that doesn’t work out as he planned. And many of the other characters have shared traits with me—Allanah in Book One, for example, is obsessed with fantasy novels, as am I, and Princess Nimue in Book Three has my love of feminine material objects. So I guess at our emotional cores we’re similar in at least one way, though I’m never consciously writing myself or my own experience. As a side note, I almost never write nonfiction because I prefer to stay away from portraying actual events from my own life. 

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

My style of research is typically “as you go.” I write until I come across something, some fact or detail, that I don’t know—then I research it. For example, I knew almost nothing about Merlin’s backstory and the other characters in his life beyond what I’d seen in movies and shows until I retold Merlin in Merlin’s Moon: Book Two in the Sun Dragon Series. By the end of the book, I’d learned a lot! Even in that situation, though, I used the research as a jumping off point to completely change Merlin’s story to fit my own.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Absolutely. I still love young adult fantasy the most, and it’s almost all of what I write. I especially love Patricia Wrede’s novels, and I see a lot of her inspiration in my dragon books.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

One thing that I never thought about until I started writing YA books with LGBTQIA+ characters was how teens were actually going to get my books. Then I quickly came to realize that most of them prefer hiding their reading choices from their parents—especially when the teen themselves is LGBTQIA and hasn’t come out yet—which is a decision that ebooks allow for. It’s hard for teens to hide a print book from judgmental parents, but it’s much easier to hide an ebook. It makes me really sad that anyone would need to do that, but it makes me very grateful for the ebook platform. 

How do you choose your covers?  

I am so lucky to have an amazing cover artist, Stef Masciandaro, who does all of my Sun Dragon covers. She is a designer Harmony Ink assigned to me when I first started publishing the series, and I’ve requested her every time since! She somehow takes my ideas for covers and makes them into exactly what I had in mind—only ten times more amazing. I also love that all of the books have the same color scheme for the spine and back, but each front cover dragon is completely unique.

What’s next for you as an author?

Just in the last few weeks I signed contracts for two new books with Harmony Ink—one science fiction novel about cloning and one ebook that’s a dystopia. Of course, like all my books, they have LGBTQIA protagonists. I’m thrilled to have future projects with Harmony Ink once the fifth Sun Dragon book, Luminosity, comes out this January. 

 

Back Cover Blurb

Long ago, in the days before King Roland, the four dragon kingdoms—Ice, Sun, Earth, and Bone—battled for dominion over the bountiful planet Earth. Prince Grian, a young dragon, hid aboard a Sun Dragon ship, traveled to Earth, and met Caden, an Earth Dragon who’d run away from his village. Despite falling in love, destiny’s plans for them turned cruel, and both perished in the war.

The Artists who created the universe could not let this tragic loss of true love go unpunished. They wiped out the race of Sun Dragons, exiled the Bone Dragons to Draman, and banished the Ice Dragons to the North Pole, safely away from the Earth Dragons. Only the rebirth of Grian and Caden could break the curse. One day, the return of their love would usher in an age of peace and prosperity for all dragons.

But when Prince Grian is reborn, he finds reuniting with his soulmate on Earth will be no easy feat. As he searches for his lost love, the Earth Dragon Protection Society, or EDPS, searches for him, ready to kill him when they find him. If Grian can elude the EDPS, he might find that the true love he once had isn’t guaranteed to bloom a second time.

Cover Artist: Stef Masciandaro

 

About the Author

If there’s one thing author Annabelle Jay believes with all her heart, it’s that there is no such thing as too many dragons in a book. As fantasy writer with few other hobbies—does being bribed to run with her partner or dancing awkwardly in the kitchen count?—she spends every day following her imagination wherever it leads her.

A hippie born in the wrong decade, Annabelle has a peace sign tattoo and a penchant for hugging trees. Occasionally she takes breaks from her novels to play with her pets: Jon Snow, the albino rabbit who is constantly trying to escape; Stevie, the crested gecko that climbs glass with the hairs on its toes; and Luigi, the green tree python that lives at the foot of her bed despite her best efforts to talk her partner out of the idea.

During her day job as a professor of English, Annabelle is often assumed to be a fellow student playing a prank on the class—that is, until she hands out the syllabus. When people stop mistaking her for a recent high school graduate, she will probably be very sad.

 

Links:

Author’s Website: www.annabellejay.com

Twitter: @AnnabelleAuthor

Instagram: @AnnabelleAuthor

Publisher’s book page: https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/cadens-comet-by-annabelle-jay-483-b

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14191901.Annabelle_Jay

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Annabelle-Jay-376249719245415